Northern Ireland: Police officers disciplined over inadequate response to homophobic crimes

Edmund Broch June 18, 2012
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Eight police officers at a station in County Down, Northern Ireland, have been disciplined after a gay couple complained about inadequate response to reports of homophobic crimes.

The BBC reports that the officers, based in Newtownards, were investigated by the Police Ombudsman’s Office, after complaints from a gay couple over their alleged failure to investigate after homophobic attacks at their home.

The PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) station has agreed to pay damages and costs, and have apologised to the couple in question.

Vincent Creelan and his partner report at least 12 separate attacks over a twelve-month period from 2007-8. Their windows were broken, car vandalised, and eggs thrown at their home. Mr Creelan, himself a former police officer, said the inadequacy of the response made him feel ‘sick’ and ‘vulnerable.’

The PSNI, however, has been quick to point out that the Ombudsman’s Office report found no form of institutionalised homophobia, though it said it accepted the findings of the report, and will train its officers accordingly.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Creelan said:  “I’m not saying I should get special treatment because I was an ex-Peeler or because I was involved with the Gay Police Officers Association or whatever, but it made you realise there was something very, very wrong and it made you feel very, very vulnerable.”

A separate, civil action against the PSNI has been settled on the steps of Laganside Courts in Belfasts earlier this morning.

More: Northern Ireland

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